As a successful CPA, Andrew Coombs is passionate about assisting his clients with tax and other matters. But he’s also got a social commitment to the residents of his South Ward Newark neighborhood. Coombs, 35, launched his own firm in 2018 in the Brick City after working in New York with Big Four firms EY and Deloitte. He started as a one-man operation with seven clients, and now has six employees and around 1,000 clients, including real estate firms, nonprofits, and venture-backed businesses.
“My first two hires were South Ward residents,” Coombs said, “and I’m still trying to keep things local by hiring from the community whenever possible.” He also conducts free seminars for area residents in a bid to get them up to speed on “financial literacy” topics, from understanding how credit card debt works to expanding their job-hunting horizons.
“Too many of the kids around here know about sports stars — and hope to be one, without realizing the long odds they face — but they do not know what a CPA is,” he explained. “I’m trying to let them know there are more choices out there. I’m not trying to steer them all into accounting, but I want them to know that if they go for a knowledge-based profession, their brain will still be in peak shape long after their body starts to wear out.”